New CO for Oceanography Operations

Story Number: NNS110614-05Release Date: 6/14/2011 10:50:00 AM
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From Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Public Affairs

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NNS) -- A change of command ceremony took place at the Naval Oceanography Operations Command (NOOC), Stennis Space Center, Miss., June 10.

Capt. Van Gurley assumed command, relieving Capt. David J. Walsh who has commanded since November 2009.

The NOOC, an Echelon IV command of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command located at Stennis Space Center, Miss., is comprised of over 1,000 military and civilian personnel located at seven globally distributed subordinate commands supporting every warfare area in the fleet.

Rear Adm. Jonathan W. White, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC), presided over the ceremony.

"They are doing things in naval oceanography that have never been done before," White stated, citing the command's global operations providing meteorology and oceanography products and services to aviation, ship operations, anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare.

Walsh was awarded the Legion of Merit for his achievements as the NOOC's commanding officer and as the operations officer for CNMOC.

"I was fortunate to be surrounded by professionals. If I have a regret it's the fact that almost every significant event that occurred on my watch, with the potential for our community to respond, was in effect a catastrophe for someone else," he said, referring to the command's work in response to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, as well as the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and other humanitarian assistance/disaster relief efforts involving the Navy.

Before taking leadership of the NOOC, Walsh served as the Navy Europe Liaison Officer to Headquarters, United States European Command, and was directly involved during the 2008 humanitarian assistance operation ,Assured Delivery, in Georgia. Other previous tours included serving as fleet meteorologist and oceanographer and assistant operations officer for Commander, 6th Fleet.

Gurley will arrive to Mississippi from Washington, D.C., where he served as military deputy/executive assistant to the Oceanographer of the Navy. He has served two previous tours in Mississippi, including a tour on the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command staff from 2004-2006 and as the first commanding officer of the Naval Oceanography Anti-Submarine Warfare Center from 2006-2008.

"It is wonderful to be back at Stennis Space Center and wonderful to be back in the operational mainstream," Gurley said. "The NOOC delivers readiness to the fleet every day."

The NOOC, the operational arm of NMOC, is aligned along nine warfighter enabling directorates providing tailored meteorological and oceanographic support for joint and coalition forces across the globe. Its seven subordinate commands are located in Japan, San Diego, Norfolk, Va., and Stennis Space Center, Miss.

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